By Joy Walter.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Eph. 3:20)

When we first planned to meet with some of the kids in our neighborhood, we had no bigger vision than a handful of teenagers in our living room once a week for Bible study. Oddly enough, this vision never even came to fruition. We had almost 30 kids in our backyard for hotdogs that first night, four and a half years ago. After that night, we only grew. Our need for help and volunteers was greater than we had anticipated, but God always provided. However, I would be lying to pretend like there weren’t times when we wanted to throw in the towel and begged God to move us somewhere else. As much as we started dreading Thursday nights, as much as we felt completely overwhelmed, I always came back to this one thing, “But if we don’t love these kids, who will?”

At the time, I had no comprehension of God’s answer to my question. He has absolutely blown me away and shown me that His plans are always bigger and better than mine. Since coming under the covering of Awakening Fires, Redeeming Hope has flourished into more than we could have ever imagined. Our kids are loved by more people (and at a deeper level) than I would have ever thought possible. Strangely enough, God even moved us away from the neighborhood for a season of rest. This has been such a reminder that He doesn’t need me, yet He wants me to join Him where He is at work.

Throughout the years, it has been such a humbling experience to see how we have touched the lives of these precious children. Just when I wonder if we’re even making any kind of impact, one of the kids will share something that reveals just how much we really are doing. Through years of building relationships, they know from experience that we really are there for them and that we truly do love them. Even after they move away and we have years of no contact, we’ll have one call or stop by to let us know how they’re doing. A few months ago, one of our girls recently text me, “Joy can I ask u something? Why are u being so nice to me? What did I do? I always been wondering this so I’m just going to ask u.” This particular teen has gone through a lot recently, and we’ve had the opportunity to pour love into her. She’s had a hard time understanding this. More recently, she wrote me saying, “Joy I just wanted to let u know I really appreciate u a lot and thank u for always being there…”

I anticipate with great joy all that God has in store for these kids. We’re trusting Him for true revival and absolute reformation in their lives and in their families.